Japan Hit By 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake, Sparks Tsunami Warnings

(ConservativeJournal.org) – Japanese coastal residents were urged to evacuate after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Sea of Japan and Ishikawa prefecture on the western coast of the island nation. Initially issuing their strongest warnings, the alerts were reduced in severity over the following days.

Over a dozen earthquakes and aftershocks struck the seabed late on New Year’s day. The impact of the quakes started fires and caused at least one building to collapse in Wajima, the city closest to the epicenter, according to reporting from Japanese outlet NHK.

The Washington Post is reporting six people buried alive, per statements from Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi. At least 55 people are dead with that number likely to rise. Thousands of homes were destroyed in Suzu, a small town near the epicenter, according to Mayor Masuhiro Izumiya.

Japan lifted all tsunami warnings as of Tuesday morning, January 2nd, but advised that more earthquakes are possible and some aftershocks in Ishikawa prefecture continued to shake the area with magnitudes less than 4.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said that in the hours following the initial 7.6 quake, they detected dozens of smaller quakes in the vicinity, nine of which were over magnitude 5. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the initial quake 7.5 on the Richter scale and said they detected 11 more at magnitude 5 or above over the following 12 hours.

Japan’s entire west coast was put under the strongest tsunami warnings advising all residents to evacuate immediately and seek higher ground. The most urgent warnings came from central Japan which was located closest to the epicenter.

Fourteen people were buried in Wajima and roughly 200 buildings were destroyed by a fire that broke out during the drama, according to Kyodo News. Ishikawa and Niigata prefectures lost power to 33,000 homes and mobile phone communication was also disrupted, according to Hayashi.

A fire at the Shika nuclear plant triggered fears of a meltdown, but the small blaze was quickly contained and had no impact on the nuclear plant’s larger operations.

Kishida added that he’s instructed officials to make every effort to save human lives.

The tsunami warnings echoed the 2011 tsunami which triggered a disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The tsunami killed roughly 18,000 Japanese citizens after 130-foot waves crashed into the country’s eastern coast line.

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